Agrarian crisis : Bihar Case Study – UPSC GS3

Impact of Green Revolution:
  • Increased productivity
  • Increased public investment in irrigation and market infrastructure.
  • Guaranteed minimum support price incentivised the cultivation of wheat and rice.
  • Consequently, the area under paddy cultivation in Punjab jumped from 4.8 per cent of the total cropped area in 1960-61 to 39.19 per cent in 2018-19. Similarly, the wheat area shares too increased from 27 percent to 45 percent.
What are the reasons for India’s deep agrarian crisis?
  • Adverse consequence of the Green revolution:
    • Monocropping: Though the production of wheat and rice increased, the cultivation of other crops started to decline. For example, Punjab had a total of 21 crops in 1960-61, which fell to nine in 1991.
    • Long-term economic and ecological effects: Wheat-rice cropping monoculture led to the depletion of groundwater levels. Excessive use of chemical pesticides reduced land productivity. For example, currently, the growth rate of yield has reduced to 2 percent per year due to water scarcity.
  • Absence of land reforms has increased inequalities among farmer communities.
    • For example, According to the 10th agriculture census of 2015-16,
      • Small and marginal farmers (< 2 hectares of land): account for 86.2 per cent of all farmers in India. But own just 47.3 per cent of the crop area.
      • Whereas, semi-medium and medium land holding farmers (2-10 hectares of land) : account for 13.2 per cent of all farmers, but own 43.6 per cent of crop area.
  • Widening rural-urban divide also contributed to the rural distress.
    • For example, according to the NSO household consumer expenditure survey for 2017-2018, Consumer expenditure by rural residents in 2017-18 decreased by 8.8 percent compared to 2012 statistics. Whereas, urban consumer expenditure for the same period increased by 2 percent.
Bihar Case Study:
  • The Bihar experiment of scrapping APMC markets in 2006 has been a failure.
  • The scrapping of APMC markets in Bihar (2006) did not improve its agricultural performance. According to the study by National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER),
    • Even after the scrapping of APMC markets, farm growth in the state averaged 2.04 percent, lower than the all-India average of 3.12 percent.
    • Also, the scrapping of APMC markets has not led to any private investment in new marketplaces according to the study by National Institute of Agriculture Marketing (CCSNIAM).
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